Dec 2013


     December 2013

A Message from the President

Zig Pines

Janus, according to Roman mythology, was the porter of heaven. As the gatekeeping god, he is represented as having a head with two faces, one looking to the future, the other to the past. Our new year begins with the aptly named month of January, a time when we also look to both the past and the future.

Many COSCA colleagues recently returned from an enriching conference in beautiful Naples, Florida. We had the opportunity to say goodbye to old friends (Perry Taitano and Lisa Goodner) and say hello to new ones (Regina Peterson and Pat Carroll).

After an engaging and freewheeling discussion about “hot topics,” we participated in educational programs about some serious issues: using data to enhance sentencing decision making, protecting our courts from the growing threat of cyber security attacks, preserving the integrity of our justice system in high-profile trials, and discussing the challenges we face in the sad phenomenon of human trafficking.

We also found time to finalize our policy paper on court records and to offer a slate of candidates for future leadership positions. Beneath the glow of the crescent moon shining over the Gulf waters, we enjoyed each other’s company.

As we look forward to 2014, we will focus our attention on juvenile justice issues through regional meetings. We will work on another important, and perhaps provocative, policy paper. We will discuss how COSCA’s liaison program and outreach efforts can be more effective. We will witness the rolling out of the National Center’s innovative “webMD” initiative. And, of course, we will address problems and challenges—some new and some old—facing our so-called loosely coupled organizations.

The cold of winter is still with us. But we eagerly anticipate our summer 2014 conference in a very special venue, beautiful West Virginia, a place John Denver said was “almost heaven.” Perhaps Janus will be there to greet us. I offer a toast to all of you and extend my best wishes for a year of goodwill and good works.

New Online Network Provides Courts with Social Media Resources

The National Center for State Courts has released the Social Media and the Courts Network, a new site that provides information on how courts are currently using social media, as well as resources for courts that need assistance maintaining their social media accounts. The Web page provides information on the impact of social media on the courts, including the impact on juries, judicial ethics issues, and human resources and policy issues. A list of the AOCs and high courts that are using social media is also available.


Language Access Conference Coming to Portland
The second annual conference of the Council of Language Access Coordinators will be held April 27-30, 2014 in Portland, Oregon.  The conference theme is “The Many Hats of Interpreter Program Management,” and it will cover topics designed to enhance state language access programs, including:

  • Procter and test administration training
  • Programs on a shoestring budget
  • Remote interpreting

Early bird registration between December 10, 2013, and February 28, 2014 is $325.00.  After March 1, registration will cost $375.

Member Spotlight:  David Boyd, Iowa

Why and how did you become a state court administrator?
I started my professional career as a trial court administrator in northwest Iowa.  At the time, I never thought I would work in a state office, let alone become the state court administrator.  Frankly, I didn’t think any state AOC had near the action as the trial courts, and I wanted to be where the action was.  At the same time Iowa was moving to a state-funded system, my predecessor became quite ill.  The chief justice asked my chief judge if he could “borrow” me for a couple of months.  My chief judge agreed so I was off to Des Moines on “temporary” assignment.  While I was there, the chief justice asked me to draft a job description for a deputy state court administrator position he wanted to create to assist the state court administrator when he returned to work.  When my temporary assignment was complete I returned to my trial court administrator position where I assumed I would remain.  It was only when I received a call from the chief justice and state court administrator did I realize I had written my own new job description.  So, back to Des Moines I went as the new deputy state court administrator, a position I held for 19 years.  When my boss retired in the spring of 2003 the supreme court named me state court administrator.

What do you like most and least about being a state court administrator?
Public service runs in my blood, so what I like most about my job is having the opportunity to make our court system and the entire State of Iowa a better place each and every day.  I also enjoy the variety that comes with the job.  The old saying that variety is the spice of life certainly fits for the life of a state court administrator.  Although I actually enjoy the legislative process, the thing I like least about the job is feeling like I always have to grovel to get the resources necessary to operate our branch of government. 

Tell us about your family.
My wife, Nancy, is my best friend and confidant, not to mention my best golfing buddy.  We have no children of our own, but we have been blessed to host four foreign exchange students over the years.  We have a German son, an Albanian daughter, and two Swedish daughters.  The best part is we’re now grandparents.  We have two international grandsons and a third arriving in April.  Sometime next year we will travel to Sweden again for another wedding.  In addition to our international family, we’re very proud of our ten nieces and nephews who so far have produced sixteen grandnieces and grandnephews. 

What is your philosophy about using social networking?  If you use social networking, which sites do you prefer, Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, or others?
Frankly, I’m not a big user of social networking in my personal life.  But I do realize I’m going to have to modify my position on it if I want to keep up with the younger generation.  Thankfully, the NCSC’s public affairs committee has recently developed a social media 101 manual to help old folks like me.  I do believe social media has a place in our court systems, which will only continue to grow as we learn more about how to put it to its best use. 

If you didn’t have to work for a living, what would you do?
I would travel and play more golf.  But more importantly, I would also enjoy have more time to do volunteer work and read.   

COSCA Member Receives Burger Award 

David Byers, the director of the Arizona Administrative Office of the Courts, was selected to receive the 2013 Warren E. Burger Award by the National Center for State Courts.  The award honors court administrative officials who have taken decisive steps to improve the operations of courts at the state or local level that may have application to courts nationwide. 

“‘We are pleased and proud that Dave Byers has been honored with this award. No one could be more deserving," said Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch. "He has provided excellent support and guidance for the Arizona court system for more than 35 years.  He has been creative in finding solutions to the issues that have arisen. His leadership has helped bring national recognition to Arizona’s courts and has improved the administration of justice. He has worked tirelessly to create a responsive, world-class court system. Through NCSC and other national committees, Byers has shared his expertise to benefit court leaders throughout Arizona, the U.S., and abroad."

Former Alaska SCA Publishes First Novel

Former Alaska State Court Administrator Stephanie Joyce Cole has announced the release of her first novel, Compass North, which is available from Amazon, Champagne Book Group, and other digital booksellers.  COSCA congrats Stephanine on her achievement.

Anniversaries . . .

COSCA congratulates the following members for achieving anniversaries in office in October and November:  Dave Byers of Arizona (21 years); Patti Tobias of Idaho (20 years); Don Goodnow of New Hampshire (18 years); Rosalyn Frierson of South Carolina (15 years); Zig Pines of Pennsylvania (13 years); Sally Holewa of North Dakota (8 years); and Steve Jahr of California and Jeff Shorba of Minnesota (1 year).

. . . and Birthdays

Ten COSCA members celebrate their birthdays in October and November.  Happy Birthday to Steve Canterbury of West Virginia (October 1); Nancy Dixon of Kansas (October 6); Rod Maile of Hawaii (October 10); Mike Evans of Oklahoma (October 23); Perry Taitano of Guam (October 25); Pat Griffin of Delaware (November 1); Kevin Lackey of Mississippi (November 9); Rich Hobson of Alabama (November 10); Callie Dietz of Washington (November 15); and Harry Spence of Massachusetts (November 17).






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